martes, 6 de mayo de 2014

The education census...

The census mandated by the educational reform passed early on in the sexenio has been completed, more or less. It’s the first count of how many schools there are in the country and how many people are employed as teachers. It’s more or less because in one out of every eleven schools, the national statistical institute, INEGI, wasn’t allowed in to do its work. The percentage was highest in some of México’s poorest states, ones in which the more radical teachers’ union, the CNTE, reigns: in Chiapas, 41% couldn’t be surveyed; in Oaxaca, 27.4% and in Michoacán, 27.3%.

The census findings are dismal. One out of nine public schools doesn’t have electricity. (So much for the digital classroom…) Three out of ten don’t have running water. Nearly half aren’t connected to sewers. One out of eight doesn’t have a bathroom. Nearly three-quarters don’t have a telephone landline.

Not everyone who is paid by a school works in one. Of that group of 298,174 people, nearly two-fifths have retired, receive pensions, have quit or died but are still paid as active workers. Nearly as many are supposedly working in another school. Another 13.1% are aviadores, the colloquial term for people who are paid for jobs they’ve never done or that don’t exist. Only a tenth work for the union or have other responsibilities. The president of Mexicanos Primeros, a highly regarded NGO (non-governmental organization) dedicated to educational issues, estimates the annual cost of the missing workers (nearly twice the number of workers employed by Pemex) at $35.8 billion.

The census isn’t the only issue. The Administration has brought suit in the Supreme Court against the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Michoacán, Zacatecas, Sonora and Baja California for failing to obey the law.

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